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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission released a national “broadband plan” Tuesday that aims to give 90 percent of Americans access to affordable, high-speed Internet by 2020.

“This is not something that is nice for us to do; it is everyone’s right,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said at a commission meeting Tuesday.

The plan calls for billions of dollars in programs to extend fiber-optic Internet cables into new corners of rural America and to educate people about why they need the Web and how they can learn to use it.

The FCC says that if the U.S. fails to speed up Internet connections and make them accessible to more people, the economy will suffer, and unconnected Americans will be left without the information they need to function in a digital society. Many job applications, for example, no longer exist in paper form.

The much-awaited plan will be “revenue-neutral,” the FCC says. The commission plans to sell 500 megahertz of newly available spectrum for broadband use over the next decade, which it says will pay for any new costs.

Most of that spectrum, 300 megahertz worth, will be made available to wireless Internet providers over the next five years, the FCC plan says.

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